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FILE - Chinese soldiers stand guard near the assembly of the Long March 2F rocket and the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan in northwest China's Gansu Province. VOA
  • China takes yet another step towards having its own manned space station
  • The Tiangong-2 lifted off from China’s launch center in the Gobi desert
  • The original plan was for Tiangong-2 to be launched at the end of 2013

Sept 16, 2016: The Tiangong-2 or Heavenly Palace-2 was launched on Thursday pushing forward China’s plans of having its own manned space station. The launch is conducted by a Long March 2F – took place at exactly 14:04 UTC.

The new orbital outpost will enable the crews to remain in orbit for 30-day mission which is crucial for China as the Xinhua news agency reported that this mission will be will be followed by a mission to carry two astronauts to the space lab in mid- to late-October for 30 days and later China will send its first cargo ship to the lab in April. A fully functional space station is envisioned by 2022, mentioned VOA.

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According to VOA reports, if Tiangong-2 sets successfully once in orbit, Tiangong-2 will maneuver itself into an orbit about 380 kilometers above the Earth for initial tests. It will then transfer to a slightly higher orbit about 393 kilometers above Earth when Shenzhou-11 will ferry two astronauts to the lab next October.

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The 8.6 ton Tiangong-2, measuring about 10 x 3 meters, is also replacing Tiangong-1 launched in 2011 and will orbit at a height of 393-kilometers above the earth.

This launch is indeed marking an important step forward towards China’s mission of a space station.

– Prepared by Anubhuti Gupta of Newsgram. Twitter: @anuB_11



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